The crowd hushed as WGN Radio personality, Nick Digiglio, took the platform. For as long as I’ve been attending Flashback Weekend it’s been his job to introduce Chicago’s local-gone-national TV horror host, Svengoolie, to the audience before the annual costume contest begins. It’s a fitting role for Digiglio as they’re genuine pals and Sven’s been a guest on his program numerous times. Whether delving into the illustrious career of his alter ego, Rich Koz, or dishing on their favorite horror films, it’s always a treat for us listeners. On this occasion, however, it was a one-man show as Sven replaced him on stage. The crowd broke into applause and for good reason. For us seasoned attendees, we knew we were in for an hour of imaginative costumes coupled with Svengoolie’s quick wit and banter.
10:20 am – We’re back in the main convention hall of the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) at McCormick Place. My daughter, Leia, and her friend, Rachel, take off on their own while my other daughter, Jade, heads over to Cosplay Central with me. This zone, designated for cosplayers, has space for their elaborate costumes, photo backdrops, and even panels on this topic throughout the weekend. The first thing that caught our attention was a tall monster that looks like a composite of Sil from Species, Giger’s ALIEN, and the Balrog from Lord of the Rings! I have no idea how someone even begins to create something like this let alone moves around in it! If you have any doubts about cosplaying being a legit artform, then I strongly urge you to come to C2E2 for some clarification. Continue reading
National horror host, Svengoolie, has been a staple of the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) for the past seven years and I’ve faithfully seen him at each one. This year would be no exception, though his role would expand to an additional session on Friday’s opening day. In addition to greeting fans again on Saturday, he’d also be the subject of a “Svengoolie Spotlight” panel – another Svengoolie/C2E2 first. His crew graciously allowed me to hang with them both days in an example of mutualism at its best – I get the inside scoop & photos and they get an extra set of hands and guy built like a bouncer while he’s on the floor. The biggest challenge is just keeping up with them!
Friday, April 6, 2018, 10:15am – My daughters, Leia and Jade, and I arrive at McCormick Place just after the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) begins. This year they had security checkpoints set up like the ones they have at airports which created some delay. While approaching the metal detectors, I notice a Wonder Woman cosplayer in front of me holding a sword and a guy behind me with a laser gun. I swear this is the only Security Screen in history where folks walk in proudly brandishing weapons!
What would a fan convention be without a bit of cosplay? In the world of expos, these daring men and women guarantee we all go home with fun photos to commemorate the occasion as well as spice up our social media pages. For years I’ve stopped them for photographs while having no real appreciation for the amount of work that went into it. Thanks to my friend, Chris Carr, this would all change during last month’s Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend. That Saturday, Chris would don his Jason Voorhees costume while I’d act as escort. In the end it would prove a fun experience while providing numerous positive interactions with fellow fans I’d of never had otherwise. It also offered some much-needed illumination regarding the creative world of cosplay.
The day before my buddy, Chris Carr, and I left for Horrorhound Weekend/Mask-Fest, we saw Stephen King’s IT with my kids. It was the Thursday night premiere and afterwards I groggily posted a blog on it before getting the few hours’ sleep necessary for the drive to Indy. At the time, we assumed there’d be lots of fans dressed as Pennywise at this event but, outside of a couple Tim Curry versions, that wasn’t the case. Understandably, most folks hadn’t even seen IT yet. That’s not to say, however, that Horrorhound didn’t seize upon the film’s debut nor the resurgence of killer clown popularity since last year’s media-driven hysteria.
If there was a finale for our weekend at the 2017 Indianapolis Days of the Dead convention, then surely the costume contest was it. I arrived at the hall early and roughly the same time that many of the contestants did. Just the few I passed on my way in let me know I was in for a treat. Some of the costumes weren’t just creative but downright brave. Case in point, a giant-sized Count Chocula that towered over all of us. As hard as it was for me to maneuver that crowded hallway, I could only imagine how tough it must have been for him.